SEIU: LET THE SENATE VOTE…. The SEIU is starting to communicate its expectations to Senate Democrats. I like the message.

One of the nation’s most powerful union leaders warned conservative Democratic senators on Thursday that there would be a “price to pay” if they voted to sustain a Republican filibuster on health care legislation.

Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union, said he could “honor all the Nelsons” in the Senate “whether Ben [of Nebraska] or Bill [of Florida]” if they chose to ultimately oppose a reform bill on philosophical grounds. “What I don’t find acceptable,” Stern told the Huffington Post, “is that we are going to use procedure to stop discussion.”

In the larger context, the SEIU isn’t exactly making an extraordinary demand here. Indeed, they’re actually going pretty easy on these guys.

The message to center-right Dems isn’t, “Vote for the public option or there’ll be hell to pay.” Instead, the message is, “Go ahead and oppose the public option if you want. Just let the Senate vote on the darn bill.”

It’s such a modest request. If a majority of the Senate opposes the reform bill, it loses. If a majority supports the bill, it passes.

Those in the Democratic caucus have no reason to find this offensive, right?

As of last week, this basic principle is “being actively discussed both on Capitol Hill and within the White House … every day.” Here’s hoping the SEIU’s input helps further the conversation.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.